GVSU - Lakers Blow Past Competition at Weekend Meets
Provided by GVSU
Nick Kapatos - Sports Information Graduate Assistant
ALLENDALE, Mich./UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - Grand Valley State track & field athletes performed strong on the track and in the field over the weekend, winning the GVSU Mike Lints Alumni Open and having two athletes put in strong performances at the SVSU Jet's Pizza Invitational.
GVSU returned to action after winning the men's and women's sides of the GVSU Open, held last Friday (Jan. 22). The Laker women scored 217 points in the meet, while the men totaled 183 points.
At the Mike Lints Alumni Open, hosted by Grand Valley State at the Kelly Family Sports Center, a combined 26 provisional qualifying standards were hit by the Laker men and women, including one automatic mark.
That automatic mark was once again set by senior Darien Thornton in the weight throw. The two-time national runner-up in the event, Thornton made a throw of 22.42m (73' 6.75"), soaring past the automatic qualifying standard and breaking the school record for the second straight week. Thornton's heave was the third-longest mark in the weight throw in Division II history. He also hit a provisional mark in the shot put with a throw of 17.09m (56' 1.00").
Joining Thornton in achieving multiple qualifying standards was fellow throwers Chris Saikalis and Dajsha Avery. The junior Saikalis made throws of 18.26m (59' 11.00") in the shot put and 17.79m (58' 4.50") in the weight throw to give him two provisional qualifying marks, while the sophomore Avery achieved marks of 14.07m (46' 2.00") in the shot put and 16.35m (53' 7.75") in the weight throw.
Nine other Grand Valley State men hit provisional qualifying marks. In the running events, it was Sean Wells (7.93) in the 60m hurdles, Lawson Bright-Mitchell (6.87) in the 60m dash, and Brady Selner (8:20.53), Chris May (8:24.53) and Nate Orndorf (8:26.36) in the 3000m. From the field events, it was Blake Donson (19.67m/64' 6.50"), Mike Moon (18.99m/62' 3.75") and Jay Lechner (18.54m/60' 10.00") in the weight throw and Samora Nesbitt (14.36m/47' 1.50") from the triple jump hitting provisional marks.
For the women, it was 12 individuals and one relay team earning provisional qualifying marks on the afternoon. From the running events, it was Beatriz Indurain (8.67) in the 60m hurdles, Katie Shaheen (2:13.84), Rachel Walters (2:14.27) and Natalie Nelson (2:15.27) in the 800m, and 'A' team of Skylar Dantzler, Jessica O'Connell, Eskolunbe Puente, and Angela Ritter (3:49.14) in the 4x400m relay. From the field events, Kaylyn Hill (17.69m/58' 0.50"), Kyra Hull (17.55m/57' 7.00") and Mariah Mansperger (16.36m/53' 8.25''), Samantha Saikalis (1.65m/5' 5.00") in the high jump, and Jaime Roberts (3.84m/12' 7.25") and Whitney Bice (3.69m/12' 1.25") in the pole vault.
At the two-day SVSU Jet's Pizza Invitational, it was Laker newcomer Tor'i Brooks making headlines as the senior finished third with 5046 points in the Heptathlon, breaking a GVSU school record and earning himself an NCAA provisional standard. Brooks broke the previous record of 4942 points set in 2013 by Steve Reives. Also competing at the Invitational was Tyler Pavliga, placing fifth with 4773 points and hitting a provisional qualifying mark.
The Lakers split in two next weekend to compete at a pair of two-day events. One half of the team will compete at the Hillsdale Wide Track Meet at Hillsdale College, while another half will travel to South Bend, Indiana for the Notre Dame Blue & Gold Invitational. Both events will go from Friday (Feb. 5) through Saturday (Feb. 6).